Submarines: German vis-a-vis Japanese...

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L. Kafka
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Submarines: German vis-a-vis Japanese...

Post by L. Kafka » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:09 pm

What were the numbers produced by Germany and Japan? What were the longest cruising ranges? Were the best Japanese subs comparable with the Japanese subs? Which navy sunk the most ships?
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Re: Submarines: German vis-a-vis Japanese...

Post by lwd » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:07 am

L. Kafka wrote:... Were the best Japanese subs comparable with the Japanese subs?
Yes.
But if you mean how do Japanese and German subs compare. That's a different story. They were buildt for different purposes and different oceans. So yes you can compare them but you have to be careful what conclusions you draw.
Which navy sunk the most ships?
Is that sub sinkings or naval sinkings?

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Ships sunk by Japanese and German submarines...

Post by L. Kafka » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:08 pm

Who sunk the most in terms of numbers or tonnage?

I was thinking of quality of design and construction between the subs of Japan and German, not mission purpose.
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:40 pm

I think that generally you will find that Japanese submarines lacked the deep-diving ability of German submarines.

But later designs included some types with very high underwater speeds.

In terms of tonnage, the Germans, waging a commerce war, sunk many, many more ships. The overall mission of the Japanese submarine forces--when not being siphoned off to supply stranded garrisons--was to hunt allied warships and whittle away at American battle forces in preparation for the "Great Decisive Battle" so long envisaged by Japanese Naval Planners--who desperately wanted a repeat of the IJN's victory at Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese war.

If you want specifics on individual IJN and IJA (yes, the Army had submarines!) then take a look at the Nihon Kaigun website:

http://www.combinedfleet.com/

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Post by Marc Binazzi » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:35 pm

I believe Japanese submarine crews were better off than German ones with regard to "comfort conditions" on long term assignments as Japanese subs were expected to reach very remote areas while this was not necessarily the case for German subs although a few travelled over very big distances.
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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:43 pm

I believe Japanese submarine crews were better off than German ones with regard to "comfort conditions"
Or had lower "expectations" ?
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:34 pm

Possibly lower expectations--but no WWII submarine in the world was "comfortable".

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Re: Ships sunk by Japanese and German submarines...

Post by lwd » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:01 am

L. Kafka wrote:....
I was thinking of quality of design and construction between the subs of Japan and German, not mission purpose.
But designs are to function (or if you prefer mission purpose). Since their mission purposes varried considerable as did their operating conditions it makes design quality a difficult thing to judge. Especially without in objective critieria. As for construction. My impression is that Japanese construction while variable got better as the war approached and most new ships at the start of the war were very well made. On the other hand the priority of the Uboat war for Germany meant that lessons learned tended to get incorporated in new construction fairly quickly and the numbers of boats of the main classes consturcted meant that you had very experianced builders.

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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:42 pm

My impression is that Japanese construction while variable got better as the war approached and most new ships at the start of the war were very well made.
Hi LWD, not intending to argue with this point as the IJN and IJA submarine forces are not my strong points--neither is submarine design in general for that matter--but it occurred to me that the IJN, at least, got better service from their older submarines during the war.

I might very well be wrong, what do you think?

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Post by lwd » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:26 am

FAr from my area of expertise. I do think that the Japanese from the beginning designed their boats for longer ranges and to primarily scout for their navy. If this is the case it wouldn't surprise me at all that they got more out of their older boats as I have read that Germany's older ones had pretty short legs. Of course I'm far from an expert in that regards either. I'd probably ask over on the ijn board if I wanted to get a good answer on this one at least from the Japanese side of things.

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Post by Rodger Herbst » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:54 am

It's been a long time since i've posted, but here goes. Japanese subs were larger because of the size of the oceans they operated in, there biggest problem as i see it was a very poor submarine command structure. The Japanese went after naval targets instead of our supply routes, think of the damage they could of caused by sinking a few tankers, our naval task forces depended on fuel to stay at sea, remember our task forces stayed at sea for months at a time unlike the Atlantic. The German smaller subs were much more manuverable under water. The Japanese boats were disigned as well as the German U boats and thier workmanship just as good, they were always under rated by thier enemies. The death knell of the Japanese sub fleet was when it was used to supply all thier island outposts, that was a command decesion and in a lot of peoples minds, a very poor one.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:16 am

Welcome back, Rodger!

One thing to add is - along with their Destroyer designs, the Germans started their mid-'30s designs pretty much where they left off in 1918. There were a lot of refinements to submarine performance between the wars, leading to for instance the almost -"luxurious" US Sargo-class boats compared to the pigboats of WWI...and so the Germans had to telescope a LOT of development into effectively only ten years or so, from "coming from behind" other naval powers - to starting the war with coastal boats but intending to attempt to blockade the UK - to developing the late-type U-Boats.

Some of this development could be accelerated by war, but various improvements could only be "proved" in service by class after class. So the Germans started the war with small coastal boats almost by force of circumstance...but with ocean-wide ambitions for them LOL
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Re: Submarines: German vis-a-vis Japanese...

Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:38 pm

Hi! Poor command structure mixed with an incredibly unrealistic expectation of their boats' ability to influence American tactical formations were, IMHO, among the chief causes for the failure of the IJN sub forces. As mentioned before, the diversion of combat submarines to supply duties was a glaring error on the part of the IJN High Command.

This is nearly inexplicable, considering that the WWI German submarine offensives were the only real examples by which anyone could predict the impact of the submarine as an offensive weapon. One almost gets the idea that no one in the Imperial Japanese Navy paid any attention at all to the WWI German tactical or strategic thinking about the submarine.

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David
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